A day after a spat between Maurice Jones-Drew, the league’s leading rusher in 2011, and Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan went public and ended with MJD saying that he would welcome a trade, things seem to have calmed down and any talks of his holdout lasting into the regular season seem premature. In an interview with NFL.com, MJD appeared confident, saying “things will work out.” He also went on to say that he would draft himself #1 overall in fantasy leagues, though he did mention that drafting Rashad Jennings as a handcuff would be a good idea.
MJD is obviously upset with his contract, but the Jaguars have maintained a position the whole time that they won’t talk with him about a new deal. Players threaten all the team to hold out into the season, but only in rare cases do they actually follow through. MJD will probably eventually realize that he has nothing to gain, if he hasn’t already, and report for week 1, but he’ll make Jaguars fans and his fantasy owners sweat first.
Even if he does report before week 1, which seems likely, I’d stay away from him in the 1st round of fantasy drafts. He’s missed an entire offseason with a new coaching staff coming in and may have gotten out of shape. The former is the bigger concern and the whole situation has many similarities to Chris Johnson, who really struggled last season after his holdout, especially early in the season. Like Johnson, MJD has a bunch of touches over the last 3 years (Johnson had 1062, MJD has 1084), normally the sign of a disappointing year for a back anyway.
As for Rashad Jennings, I wouldn’t draft him unless I already had Maurice Jones Drew on my team. He’s a definitely valuable handcuff, but he’s only worth his current ADP in the 9th round as a handcuff. As for the Jaguars’ offense as a whole, they should struggle once again unless Blaine Gabbert’s decent play in the preseason carries over to the regular season. Any improvement in Gabbert’s game from his rookie year to this year will be nullified by a likely decline in play from MJD, who accounted for 47.7% of their yards last season, by far more than any non-quarterback in the NFL last season.
If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2